For all the talk about Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston, or Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, or Brad Pitt and, well, anyone, it turns out that one of the most important people in his life is someone you’ve likely never even heard of: Jean Black.
Black has been Pitt’s makeup artist on nearly 40 of his films, and their friendship dates back 30 years. So if you want to see Brad Pitt at his most authentic self, watch him interact with Black, whom he calls “family” and “my sister.” Lucky for us, that dynamic is front and center in the premiere of HGTV’s Celebrity IOU, a new series in which Property Brothers Drew and Jonathan Scott help celebrities—Pitt, Melissa McCarthy, and Viola Davis included—thank the unsung heroes in their lives by surprising them with home renovations.
Before Celebrity IOU, I’d never seen an episode of Property Brothers (I know, don’t @ me). I couldn’t even tell you which one is Drew and which is Jonathan (neither can Pitt, it turns out). But I’ve already watched this episode twice thanks to screeners and will add a third to that list when it premieres on Monday, April 13. That’s how good it is.
I’ve interviewed Pitt twice before, but it was the first meeting, in 2012, that I’ll never forget. In my experience, some of the biggest stars are the nicest—they aren’t as concerned with fame as those new to the scene—and that’s true with Pitt. When I started off my conversation with him, I told him I was from Missouri, where he grew up and went to college, and was met with genuine interest and warmth. In the years since, he’s gone through some highs and lows—marriage, divorce, producing award-winning movies, getting sober—so by the time he started doing press for Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood last year, followed by his hilarious awards-season speech tour this winter, it became evident this was a more mature, peaceful, and funny Pitt than we had seen in some time.
Which brings me back to Celebrity IOU: When I found out the Property Brothers had gotten Pitt to do an episode of their new HGTV show, I literally thought it was a joke. In what world does the biggest movie star on the planet agree to do a reality TV show about home renovations? Well, joke’s on me, because the episode is a complete treat.
Pitt is his realest self here—his love of construction and design is well documented, so the format for Celebrity IOU works. In a pageboy hat, jeans, and wrinkled T-shirt, Pitt is clearly in his natural habitat. “If I’m not building, I’m dying,” he tells the Scott brothers before he puts on his goggles and starts demolishing Black’s storage/guest property.
Here he doesn’t have to field questions about who he’s dating or what it was like running into Aniston at the SAG Awards. Instead he gets to simply gush about his friend, share secrets about their working relationship (you might have heard about those tan lines on Legends of the Fall), and geek out over textiles. It’s riveting.
During the course of the hour-long episode, Pitt has to go somewhere for work (where that “somewhere” is, we don’t know), but he still finds time to conference in and discuss important details of the project. While I can’t judge his involvement compared with the other celebs on this series, I can say he’s involved more than I thought he would be. Even more, his appearance never feels overhyped.
The payoff comes at the end—without giving away too much, I will say that it’s sweet and emotional. The kind of ending you rewatch any time you need a pick-me-up (which is a lot these days). When Black and Pitt share the screen, you want to be her. Not because her dear friend is movie-star-gorgeous Brad Pitt but because it’s clear he would do anything for her, and we should all have that kind of love in our lives.
And then, just when you think the whole hour can’t get any better, the two let us in on what it’s like when they’re goofing off on set and at Black’s home, where Pitt says he often makes pit stops for naps, bathroom breaks, and the like. It’s so funny and heartwarming, it will leave you smiling. In this time of heartbreak and uncertainty, it’s what we need.
Celebrity IOU airs on HGTV every Monday, beginning April 13, at 9 P.M.
Jessica Radloff is the Glamour West Coast editor. You can follow her on Instagram at @jessicaradloff14.
Originally Appeared on Glamour
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